1 February 2017

A morning meet-up with NHS England

It was a bright and early morning when a group of trans and non-binary people gathered in a café near Elephant and Castle. Their mission? To take part in an All About Trans interaction, improving understanding of trans people’s experiences in healthcare. This was the fourth interaction in the series and the group were meeting NHS England in London. Non binary and trans people had already met some of the NHS England team at their interaction at Leeds in October.

Ayla facilitates the session

As the interaction team walked down to the venue, there was much sharing and networking between the group. Representatives or members from Mermaids, CliniQ, Gendered Intelligence, My Genderation, Stonewall, Stonewall Housing and individuals from universities and hospitals were all participating in the two hour interaction with NHS Staff.

The NHS participants joining the interaction team came from a range of departments. There were members of the Communications and Engagement, Equality Support and Complaints teams. Contract Officers for GP Operations and Mental Health Case Managers also attended. It was great to see so many people eager to get involved.

Ayla Holdom, National Police Air Service helicopter pilot and All About Trans advisor, was facilitating the session. She introduced the room and began a pronoun circle (each person saying their preferred pronoun, such as he, she, they), before splitting people into smaller groups, to chat generally and get to know one another.

“The key message from today was that [transitioning] can be a very positive experience. It’s always portrayed as being doom and gloom or awful, so it was very positive to understand this.” – Gayle Rossiter, Regional Head of Communications and Engagement

During the interaction

Once everyone knew a little more about each other, the small groups began to share experiences of accessing healthcare or discussing how the NHS participants’ roles related to trans health.

There were many fruitful conversations. Juno Roche, Patron of trans healthcare service CliniQ spoke to her group about the free CliniQ training sessions that are available to NHS staff.

Mental Health team members welcomed recommendations of GIRES’ online resources for GPs. One participant said he would like to share GIRES’ training with GPs contacting him with queries. The three main resources discussed were: Gender Variance: E-Learning for GPs, Caring for Gender Nonconforming Young People and Transgender Awareness for Employers and Service Providers. They were made available to the group after the meeting.

“I feel happy that this interaction has given us the chance to sit and chat to each other. We can help make ripples that make waves, making lives easier for trans people.” Charlie Craggs, Nail Transphobia

A group discuss healthcare

Finally, those in the Communication and Engagement team said that they’d welcome further meet-ups between regional trans groups and NHS staff. The Complaints team also spoke of the interaction’s impact and encouraged participants to stay in touch and keep talking about future meetings. They asked people to continue logging complaints, to ensure Commissioners are aware of any issues.

After gathering for a group photo, the participants shared contact information and urged each other to keep in touch. It was an enthusiastic and engaged interaction, and we look forward to seeing what may happen from here.

All About Trans